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A DAY WITH... TRAVEL WEEKLY ON THE ROAD


Agency owner


Diane Coleman (right) with


staff members Kirsty Kitching and David


Celino-Stock ❛


AMIE’S DAY AT TICKETS TRAVEL


Tickets Travel is one of a growing number of single independent


shops that have been selling holidays for decades but are always looking ahead and evolving. The ability to embrace change and find new ways to promote your business in an industry in which the margins are low and you’re up against the internet is key to survival. From running its own travel show


in the town hall, to investing in a shop refurb and attending key trade events, Diane and her loyal staff Kirsty and David don’t rest on their laurels. They are open to trying new ways to generate business – and it appears to be paying off. Tickets Travel’s recent acquisition


of Clarkes Travel reflects Diane’s confidence in the future of the high street, which seems to be having a renaissance of late. With her daughter Leanne


Celino-Stock and Kirsty Kitching, who have between them worked at the agency for 26 years. David, a recent winner of Travel Weekly’s


Mystery Shopper, is the cruise specialist, while Kirsty loves all things tailor-made. She has worked at the shop since 2001, and seen children who used to come in with their parents now visit the agency to book their own holidays. The shop is one of several on Bexley


Village’s pretty high street, which has the highest concentration of independent businesses in the UK. Last month, the agency underwent a full


refurbishment, including new flooring, desks, wall map and brochure racks. The business is also expanding after it took


over Clarkes Travel in nearby Erith, in January, after its owner retired. Diane says: “I got a call from David [the


previous owner], who I’ve known for years, in October. He said he wanted to retire and asked if I’d take over his forward business. “I booked my first holiday there, so I was genuinely sad they were shutting down. I spent a lot of my teenage years in that area. It’s where I went to school, so it feels familiar. “At first I thought some of his staff could


come and work here, but then I wondered if I should take over the lease. My daughter Leanne wasn’t happy in her job and had always said she’d like to run her own business one day in the future. She’d never shown an interest in travel, but when I suggested me taking over Clarkes, she was really keen to come and work with me. I spoke to the leaseholder and it developed from there.” Diane convinced two of the Clarkes staff to


stay on and plans to split her time between the two stores while Leanne, 24, learns the ropes. Leanne starts this week as an assistant.


Consumer shows Earlier this month, the agency hosted its second travel show at Freemantle Hall in the High Street, complete with a steel band. The event was hosted in partnership with about a dozen suppliers, and attracted almost 100 people. “Operators were happy that they had quality enquiries on the day, and we took two bookings – one of whom was a new client,” says Diane. The agency has also held client events in its shop and in partnership with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. It has another – an afternoon tea with AmaWaterways – coming up in April.


coming on board to work in the new shop, let’s hope Tickets Travel will continue for generations to come.


Diane (left) with Amie


22 February 2018 travelweekly.co.uk 39


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